Chelsea FC defender Ashley Cole (31) has called for utmost caution from his team during the UEFA Champions League Semifinal first-leg game to be played at Stamford Bridge today evening.
“Against a team like that you have to be concentrated for not just 90 minutes, but 94 or 95 minutes,” said the experienced English international regarding the upcoming fixture. “We were doing well until the [93rd] minute when Iniesta stepped up with a great goal. So we know it’s going to be tough. They’ve got a great manager who has been in this situation for years, and they’ve got so many world-class players that you can’t take your eye off the ball for a minute, because any one of them could step up and do something magical. So we’ve got to be fully on our game.”
“They are not just a one-man team,” warned Cole. “Everybody says it’s all about Messi, but I don’t think that’s the case. All their players are world-class. Everyone thinks you’ve got to stop Messi and that’s it, but then you get the other players who contribute. We know we’ve got to stop more than just Messi.”
Regarding the improved run of form since the departure of Villas-Boas, Cole said: “The players are buzzing. We went from a bad patch to progressing to the [final] of the FA Cup, and the semi-final of the Champions League ‒ not many people would have said we’d have got there in January or December. We’ve started to come on more as a team now, and thought ‘it’s down to us’, because we’ve seen the manager go, and that was our fault, so now we’ve got to change things. It has turned around and hopefully we can now go on and win a trophy for the fans.”
Image Credit: Phil Cole/Getty Images